Using Facebook to Accelerate Time to Trust

Using Facebook with LinkedIn to Speed up the Relationship Life Cycle

TimeTrustWhen I suggest to executives using Facebook to accelerate the time to trust for business relationships, I usually get a raised eyebrow or an incredulous stare. However their attitude quickly changes when I ask them to reflect on the last three business lunches they had with prospects and what they talked about.

Meetings with prospective clients usually include sports, culture, family and light politics/news… things that people share on Facebook.

Facebook for Business

No one disputes that, especially for senior executives, LinkedIn is the venue whose social context is business, but Facebook is a great way to amplify your relationship building effectiveness. Moreover, as Gen Y moves into positions of increasing authority, you will increasingly encounter prospects that feel more comfortable on Facebook than LinkedIn. Other networks may well emerge. However, when considering using Facebook for business:

  • Don’t be blindsided because people do a lot of wacky things on Facebook. Search the Groups directory, you’ll find supply chain groups, transfer pricing and many other serious business topics.
  • When you are prospecting, bounce over to LinkedIn to search for your prospects’ profiles, playing close attention to Answers they’ve asked or answered (link on the right side of their profile), Groups of which they are members, and Blog posts, Slideshare presos and Tweets, all via LinkedIn Apps.
  • On Facebook, depending on their privacy settings, you could learn something about their personal sides, especially if they are a friend of a friend or members of Groups. The default is, you will be able to see their Friends, which could be very useful.
  • If you are new to Facebook and want to use it for business, an easy way to start is to select some of your LinkedIn Connections whom you’d like to know better. Invite them on Facebook, saying that you’ve found it useful for business.
  • If you have some friends who put crazy stuff on your Wall, assign your business connections to a “professional”Friend List that does not have access to your Wall or certain photo albums or videos (Facebook has some decent documentation on this; make sure you know how it works before putting in motion).

Parting Shots

  • For more context, read this short post on the Relationship Life Cycle.
  • You can accelerate your ability to develop trust with prospects by prospecting and interacting on Facebook because it’s social context is more relaxed and personal.
  • When doing this, be discreet yet open about it.  In other words, tell your prospect that you saw on Facebook that you have friends in common: don’t  be mysterious about how you got the information, or it could backfire and come across as being creepy.

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